By Tabitha Barr / Editor in Chief
Multiple things are happening at Hutchinson Community College’s main campus. Students and staff have been questioning the happenings and situations arising during this fall semester. The cafeteria construction, the tennis courts, and HutchCC’s campus security and safety.
HutchCC president Carter File met with The Collegian to discuss the topics that affect the campus.
For most of the students, the construction was somewhat out-of-the-blue. In reality, the college has had the idea since 2002 and finally decided to resurrect this project within the past four years.
File said the college wanted to update the cafeteria inside Parker Student Union because it “was an area that needed to be addressed.” It wasn’t as up-to-date as most of the other areas, and the college wanted to change that, especially with the college’s growth over the years.
With change can come inconvenience. The construction requires a workspace for the crews, which causes the first two rows of the union parking lot to be unusable for students and staff.
Many students have expressed their frustrations. The college had limited parking space on the main campus beforehand, so losing two full rows takes a toll on everyone.
“We knew that it was going to be a problem, and we were just going to have to bite the bullet,” File said.
Students and staff are used to the convenient parking, but the college has more areas available. They’re just not right next door to the union or Lockman Hall.
“The parking problem is a relative problem,” File said.
Many colleges have drawbacks to their parking, and HutchCC is on that list until construction is finished. It’s the only way for the new renovations to happen, so students and staff need to keep in mind the big picture when feeling frustrated.
“It might be difficult to find parking at the moment, but when the construction is finished, it’ll be worth the wait,” File said.
With the question of construction happening on campus, the tennis courts have been in the air for quite some time.
“We’re going to do something with them,” File said. “There are two kinds of competing ideas. One of them is parking,” but also “there is a strong opinion on campus that we don’t want parking in the heart of our campus, but that we’d like to have more green space, more picnic areas.”
The tennis courts, located south of Shears Technology Center, will be dealt with in the near future, but not until the current construction is complete and the school decides exactly what they are doing with them.
HutchCC’s campus safety and security has been a big topic from last year to this year. They want all students to feel as safe as possible wherever they are on campus.
File said the college only has one security officer employed, while others used are contracted from an outside source. An increased number of officers patrol dorms and the campus at night.
“We feel like we’ve got adequate security,” File said.
Recently, there have been an abundance of religious recruiters on campus during the day, and even at night. While they have the freedom to speak and express their beliefs, especially at a publically-funded college, students have the right to tell them they’re not interested and to leave them alone.
“If they are respectfully evangelizing, there’s nothing a public institution can do to stop them unless they are harassing students,” File said.
There have been reports of these recruiters being confrontational and refusing to leave students alone. If they don’t respect a student’s wishes and continue to push, then students have a reason to file a grievance about harassment to Brett Bright, Vice President of Student Services.
“If we don’t know about it, we can’t do anything about it,” File said.
The college needs the situation filed so they can know what to look out for and how to act in that situation.
“If someone is making you uncomfortable, or someone is causing you to feel uncomfortable in the space you are in, then you should report that to the authorities so that we can take action on it,” File said.
HutchCC wants every student to gain an education and feel safe while doing it. File gave one last thought about everything saying, “we want every student on campus to feel comfortable. We need to know if they’re not because we will always look into a complaint.”